IN FOCUS: How young Singaporeans turn their passions into profits with side activities

Another potential problem for people wishing to pursue a secondary activity is that their employer has contractual clauses preventing them from doing so.

However, while some employment contracts regulate an employee’s ability to take a second job, Dr Theseira states that this is an “unreasonable restriction” on a worker’s liberty, unless such employment does not create a conflict of interest.

If allowing a worker to pursue a secondary activity increases the chances that he will keep his main job because his income or personal aspirations are satisfied through his side activities, it is also an advantage for his main employer because it reduces the turnover rate, he added. .

Economic progress goes beyond GDP or the number of people at work, and is also measured by people’s ability to achieve well-being and achieve their aspirations, Dr Theseira said.

“Seen in this light, if people derive both income and pleasure from their side jobs, hobbies or interests, it is good for their well-being and self-fulfillment as well as for their life. economy, ”he added.

However, some companies do not openly allow secondary activities, as they could appear to be moonlighting, said Ms. Lee of Robert Walters.

That’s why most employees with side work or freelance work tend to do it quietly, she added.

“Regardless of the industry, employers may be willing to allow their employees to self-employment or other jobs as long as their performance in their salaried role is not affected. ”

It also depends on the specific department and the culture of the company, said IHRP’s Mr. Tan.

“Of course, at the HR and corporate level, you have certain metrics on dos and don’ts. But if you have a very understanding boss who is very results oriented or results oriented, then you can definitely get their blessing, ”he added.

Mr. Haiqal’s boss and colleagues are aware of his sideways restlessness, he noted.

“My company is open in the sense that … (It’s good) As long as the secondary activity does not coincide or does not have a direct conflict of interest with the work, or as long as it affects the level performance and productivity of the work I do, ”he explained.

Mr. Tan, who is the father of two young sons, noted that it is not easy to manage his daily work, his side work and time spent with the family. To manage his time, he often writes his articles late before bed or early before going to work.

“I have to plan my family affairs – trips, outings around it. So it’s really difficult, ”he admitted.

But it varies from individual to individual.

“Somehow I am fortunate enough to be able to work in a company in a role where most of my work takes place on the working hours themselves and anything that can be done can be done strictly at my own time and for my own purpose, ”Haiqal noted.

“There’s not much that I can do that I really have to go out of my way to make sure I make time for things. “


Employers may also be concerned that their workers are adopting side activities if their main full-time jobs are time sensitive. These companies might not be able to provide the same flexibility needed for self-employment opportunities, said IHRP’s Mr Tan.

“And then the other reason is that they can have their minds that you might be able to work in something that might go through what you’re doing. You may be sharing information about the competition, so that may be another concern, ”he added.

Many employers look at work from an “entry point of view,” and they judge employees based on the number of hours they devote to the job, Tan said.

“If I pay you 40 hours a week, then I would expect 40 hours … But what are those 40 hours?” Five hours on Facebook, six hours in the pantry, in fact that doesn’t mean anything, ”he added.

“I think the mindset needs to change, and also to really let employers know that this is actually employee engagement,” he said, urging employers to consider enabling staff to pursue their interests as a benefit to employees, similar to the implementation of flexible working arrangements.

“Right now it’s so hard to hire people, with a fertility rate of 1.1 you are fighting like crazy with the big business budget, you need all that flexibility. “

Dr Theseira agreed that companies should manage employment based on performance, rather than on the basis of input metrics, such as how many hours an employee spends at work or whether they have only one job.

“It should be noted that the modern employment contract only allows a company to monitor an employee’s work for a specified set of regular working hours,” he added.